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McLaren await FIA verdict

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F1 Mole | 13:37 UK time, Friday, 24 April 2009

The compelling start to this already incredible Formula 1 season has owed as much to events off the track as to those on it - and it is the backstage intrigue that continues to dominate gossip in the paddock in Bahrain.

Much attention is focused on McLaren's appearance on Wednesday in front of F1's disciplinary court - the World Motor Sport Council of governing body, the FIA.

The team are answering charges arising from the aftermath of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, when world champion Lewis Hamilton and McLaren's sporting director Dave Ryan were found guilty of misleading the race stewards.

Ryan has since been sacked and a beleaguered and haunted-looking Hamilton has admitted his mistakes while blaming it all on being misled by Ryan.

So far, McLaren have persisted publicly with the line that it was all Ryan's idea and that the senior management did not know anything about it.

The problem they have is that very few people in F1 believe that - because of the culture of control that has permeated McLaren for decades - and you can be sure that the World Council, not to mention FIA president Max Mosley, probably will not either.

That culture of control stemmed from the character of former McLaren boss Ron Dennis, and the decision for him to sever all ties with the F1 team is being seen within the paddock as part of a choreographed series of steps between McLaren and the FIA that will lead to a judgement on Wednesday that is harsh, but which allows the team to carry on racing.

(It is widely known within F1 that Mosley and Dennis have a strong personal dislike for each other, and Dennis's successor, Martin Whitmarsh, has admitted the team need a better relationship with the FIA).

The news on Friday that Whitmarsh has issued a formal apology to the FIA for McLaren's conduct over the affair is seen as another of those steps.

Lewis Hamilton

The big question, though, is - even if this behind-the-scenes dance is true - what judgement will be handed down on McLaren?

The range of possible penalties is huge - everything from being thrown out of F1 to no punishment whatsoever.

The issue will be how seriously the World Council takes it. Is this akin to a footballer diving in the penalty area, or should it be seen as bringing the entire sport into disrepute - a catch-all phrase in the F1 regulations that has been used in any number of cases in the past?

Clearly, lying to the stewards is a serious business, but most people within F1 think it would be ludicrously disproportionate to throw McLaren out of the championship because of it.

The British newspapers carried a number of dramatic stories on Friday discussing what might happen to McLaren if they were hit with a severe punishment in Paris next week.

But another version of events is emerging here at the Sakhir track.

That says that as long as McLaren jump through a few hoops at the hearing, they should be OK.

If they apologise unreservedly, don't bring a hot-shot lawyer to argue a defence, and show a clear change of culture post-Dennis, the story goes, there will be no further penalties - other than a suspended sentence which dictates that any further transgressions over a certain period would result in the severest punishment.

The change in culture might be the most difficult to prove, but McLaren are certainly trying.

As of 1 June, the McLaren Group will have a new chairman - current Cable and Wireless chief executive Richard Lapthorne, who is to fly into Bahrain on Sunday for the race. Dennis and Whitmarsh will both report into him.

In the meantime, a bit of recent history might help put 'Ryan-gate' into context.

At Monaco in 2006, Michael Schumacher parked his car against the barriers in the final qualifying session in a successful attempt to prevent title rival Fernando Alonso from completing his flying lap and stealing pole position.

Schumacher said it was an accident - not a deliberate attempt to hamper his opponent. But the move was so transparent that everyone in F1 realised what he had done, and he was called before the stewards to explain his actions.

There, he and Ferrari team boss Jean Todt persisted with the line that it had been a simple accident, caused by trying too hard.

That was despite the obvious evidence of the TV footage and in-car telemetry to the contrary.

The stewards did not deliver their judgement until late into the night - and they found Schumacher guilty.

Despite this, the seven-time world champion persisted with his argument - as did Todt. There was no acceptance of guilt - and certainly no apology.

The punishment the stewards came up with? Schumacher had to start the race from the back of the grid.

Comments

  • 1. At 3:11pm on 24 Apr 2009, Hugh Davis wrote:

    Excellent example raised at the end there.
    I for one think there is an extremely uneven punishment handed out to McLaren when compared with the golden boys of the sport Ferrari. I don't see how there can ever be equality in a sport when some of the car companies are financially backed by the sport's governing body and some companies aren't.
    I think it's sickening the kind of treatment that McLaren get compared to the other teams. True, if they didn't do anything wrong then they would have nothing to complain about but motor racing is a sport of small margins and all of the teams transgress from the rules - it just seems like McLaren get punished a lot more heavily.
    I wonder what the outcome of the "diffuser" row had been if it were McLaren who had a more advanced diffuser system than the other teams?

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  • 2. At 3:25pm on 24 Apr 2009, lawrencegillies wrote:

    I think that the loss of points won in the race is sufficient punishment. McLaren have been suitably contrite, and if a verdict of "Guilty but already punished" comes in, then the whole incident will go away.

    Any further punishment will play right into the hands of those who think that there is a bias against the McLaren team, and will keep the whole affair in the public eye.

    The best thing that can happen for the sport and for the cahampionship is that this whole sorry incident fades into the cabckground and the racing is allowed to take centre stage - especially considering the diffuser row.

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  • 3. At 3:29pm on 24 Apr 2009, Cowboy Martin wrote:

    Why do F1 not change the rules on this. Why do driver AND someone from the team have to attend the stewards meeting? Why can't just the driver attend and answer questions as he will surely know all the answers to any questions asked, where he was on the track, what he was told by the team etc etc.

    I think in all honesty that Lewis probably went along with Dave Ryan because of Ryans long standing committment to Mclaren and probably felt a little overshadowed by him but I do wonder if the same furore would be happening over this incident if it was a more experienced driver like Barrichello or Trulli that was involved?

    I believe Mclaren should be punished but not Lewis, he was put in a very difficult position by Dave Ryan and the stewards must understand that for Lewis, in the spur of the moment to disagree with what Dave Ryan was saying, must be a very difficult thing for him to do. We have to remember, regardless of Lewis' quality, he is still a young driver making his way through F1 and still learning. He will have learned a lot from this experience and you can tell by his manner that he fully regrets his actions even if those actions were slightly pressurised by his team. They should be apologising to Lewis as well as the stewards.

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  • 4. At 3:33pm on 24 Apr 2009, theoutlawdekepatton wrote:

    Nobody minds a bit of mischief in the name of competition, you could say it is an essential element of great competitors. However there are three things that concern me about this incident.

    Firstly, Toyota and Trulli were forced to accept the consequences. Secondly nobody at McLaren, including Hamilton came clean about it until after it hit the press. Thirdly, McLaren still seem to be lying about who is responsible and passing the buck (onto Dave Ryan).

    The punishment handed out to Toyota was relatively severe. This should have acted as a wake up call to McLaren. It is all very well sneeking a better position using underhand tactics but putting your competitors out of the action is unaccetable. Also I think Toyota unwittingly set a precedence of sporting behaviour. They claimed innocence but accepted the outcome. It is this precedence of behaviour that McLaren should be held up to and they quite clearly didn't match up.

    The question we will never know the answer to is whether anybody at McLaren would have owned up to it at some point. However, up to the point where they got caught, they didn't. The fact that they chose a strategy of silence suggests that this type of gameplay is not particularly unusual. There was no was no interest in competing in a sporting manner in the first place.

    McLaren chose to single out a team member and force him to take all the heat. This backstabbing method can only act as confirmation that this unsporting culture within the team was to be preserved. It seems there was no attempt to get to the bottom of the problem and take serious actions. They simple sacked Ryan and brushed it under the carpet. Dennis has now resigned but there is still no sign of the team actually taking responsibility. I guess ultimately, they can't really do this, but somebody standing up within the team, admitting it and sorting it it they are forcing the FIA to do it all. It doesn't help regain any of my respect is really what I am trying to say.

    McLaren deliberately took an opponent out by knowingly cheating, showed no remorse and have failed to respond in a manner that shows they are willing, and I emphasise 'willing', to change the 'anything to get the points' attitude that has persisted throughout the team now for years (in consideration of the spying scandal).

    Unfortunatley, I think punishment has to be harsh. A precedent has to be set to other teams. I don't think that throwing out individuals within the team should be considered to be acceptable enough. The team still has to be punished for its actions during the race. I don't think it would be too much to strip McLaren of their right to compete in the team championship this year.

    In regards to Hamilton. He lied and knew it. However, he cannot be held responsible in the same way as the team. He has to take this as a major lesson but still needs to be punished. I would suggest a suspension. Perhaps four races.

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  • 5. At 3:37pm on 24 Apr 2009, WildFreethinker wrote:

    I cannot agree that McLaren are picked on. Ferrari were penalised heavily more than once a few years back.
    The big difference this time is that after McLaren's previous lack of openness over the spying incident they have now been caught out saying things that have been absolutely proved to be less than honest. They even carried on against all the evidence.
    Do you accept drugs at the Olympics rather than disqualify a famous athlete?
    We are not here dealing with stretching of the truth. It does go to the whole basis of what sport is all about.
    I have been a fan since the days of Jackie Stewart. The sport should be greater than one team.

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  • 6. At 4:01pm on 24 Apr 2009, KnuttyBoy wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 7. At 4:06pm on 24 Apr 2009, Bostin5 wrote:

    Another Schumacher example for you. In 1995 he and the Benetton team ignored a black flag, they basically showed a level of disrespect to the authorities that Hamilton and McLaren have here. Schumacher was banned for two races, (still went on to win the championship) and Benetton were heavily fined.
    We cannot allow lieing to go unpunished, particullarly lieing that knowingly caused another to be punished. theoutlaw has written authoritatively and eloquently, I think I have nothing further to add.

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  • 8. At 4:12pm on 24 Apr 2009, Lorenzos Flying Circus wrote:

    Interesting comments from WildFreethinker, although I can't seem to place Ferrari being fined $100Million in recent years!
    It just seems that as soon as McLaren make the slightest of transgression then the whole motorsport world jumps on them, all we want is even handed treatment of all teams.
    As for the incident in question, Hamilton is a McLaren man to the core, so if the team ask him to deceive the stewards then that is what he will do. He is as guilty as Dave Ryan, if he had concerns he could have voiced them. He didn't and was happy to accept promotion in places, now he has been caught out he has to take the punishment.
    Lets hope that with the departure of Ron Dennis the WMSC can view the incident with an unbiased state of mind. Any further excessively harsh punishments could force one of the longest serving teams to reconsider its position in F1.

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  • 9. At 4:25pm on 24 Apr 2009, saintmaggiore wrote:

    What the hell is going on? Thought (stupid me) the FIA were supposed to be totally independent and only had the care of F1 in its power. What is this about Ecclestone and Mosley? OK Ecclestone may own the F1 rights but he SHOULD be totally unbiased as should Mosley, though what good he is has yet to be proven. Ron Dennis has been a brilliant mentor for F1 for so many years, if there is a problem with Ecclestone and Mosley then it is up to them to bring it into the open. Tell the truth, or can they. Why has Ron Dennis been brought to this unexplicable turn of events? Understand there are some major questions to be answered but surely personal vendettas should not come into this equation. This is F1 we are talking about, they are about to destroy it with their holier than thou actions. They are far too powerful and will bring F1 to its knees. As I understand it from what I have read either or both cannot handle Ron Dennis standing up to them so are willing to make his life very difficult. What is the saying "what goes round comes round". They will both live to regret the day they brought F1 into disrepute. I am knocking on but hey they need to come to terms with themselves. Question, what will F1 gain by penalising McLaren. Do they really wish to lose a brilliant team that has been going for so long. Do they really want to drag a great driver further into the mire? What will be their epitaphs? "I brought F1 down". Tell the powers that be to speak the truth for once and let's have an apology from them. Do you both want McLaren to disappear and let Porsche take its place. Let's have some truth from the top for once, there is major complicity at the top and there are thousands more like me who believe the same. Let's have the truth now and not in a decades time. There are so many facts on various web-sites. Why can't Bernie and Max tell the truth for once. Why is the FIA website so silent. They cannot continue to destroy others lives at will, let them question their consciences. Totally disillusioned with them both and the way they seem to control the FIA. Is it money that counts? I wonder. There is a massive growing opinion that those at the top are not what they should be. Give us some truthful answers, not the rubbish spewed out. Disappointed in you Bernie.

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  • 10. At 4:36pm on 24 Apr 2009, Ian Spencer wrote:

    The FIA enjoy being punitive, but it creates a culture where the competitors do not have faith in the processes. The reality is that McLaren were trying to game the stewards to correct a problem of their own making, but also it was the case that Toyota and Trulli were not blame free. Also the FIA, even though they claim to be creating a greater openness, only published the evidence that supported their case, and we did not, for example, hear Trulli's evidence, where we know that his story also changed as the week went on. The FIA have some responsibility here too, regardless of McLaren's misdemeanours, it is clear that there is little confidence in the stewarding of F1 and that in itself will encourage a culture of dishonesty.

    Interesting to bring up the Schumacher qualifying issue - as it is popular to compare and contrast the FIA's handing of Ferrari to McLaren, it is interesting that the flexible floor was handled differently. It is my understanding that the floor was engineered with hidden components designed to allow movement on a part where there was supposed no be none, and even had a setting to allow it to be locked in place during scrutineering. This was a considered attempt to work around the strict technical regulations where there was no ambiguity.

    The trouble is that the FIA are painting a picture that it is only McLaren who have ever attempted to mislead the stewards. Perhaps in 2008, some of those dubious stewards decisions were down to misleading information from other teams - and indeed the FIA itself if we think about the Massa Bourdais incident and how the FIA instruction that the pit lane had right of way was apparently not part of the decision. F1 has not been honest for a long time - all these protests about the sanctity of the sport look rather thin against a background of Senna vs Prost, Schumacher vs Hill, the Benneton traction control scandal and so on.

    The FIA also have been uneven within McLaren. Whitmarsh did openly apologise once it became clear to him that it was not a game with words as he appeared to have been told by his senior director responsible, and yet we see the FIA describing Hamilton as having done the right thing and apologised, and the same from McLaren is ignored. The FIA have briefed against McLaren rather than treating the issue as sub-judice - is it even really right to link together the spying scandal with a couple of people trying it on in the stewards meeting?

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  • 11. At 4:55pm on 24 Apr 2009, Cowboy Martin wrote:

    In all honesty this seems to be a battle of personalities as much as anything else. Max Mosely (he of such high standards) and his relationship with Mclaren should not come into this. If anything, such hearings should be judged by and independant panel, Ecclestone or Mosely shouldn't be part of that process at all.

    All this I feel is bringing the sport down. Not just the Mclaren issue but the not so secret dislike between Mosely and Ecclestone. We should be talking about the racing, Brawns briiliant start to the season, Vettles amazing win. If anything, the like of Ecclestone etc should be trying to explain why they put the drivers lives at a much higher risk by having a twilight race in Australia when every single driver was against it. Also knowing way in advance that Rain would disrupt the Malaysian Grand prix and could have brought that forward. Some of the decisions so far this season have been rather baffling to say the least. Even Having the Chinese grand prix at this time of year was a silly decision knowing the chances of rain is high.

    But please, just make a decision on Mclaren and lets move on. But please also make it a fair decison based on evidence and past similar misdemeanours and not on a conflict of personalities. Rememeber, this happened in the 1st race of the season, we are now approcahing the 4th. You would have thought this would have been settled by now. It's actually becoming rather boring if you ask me yet it seems quite simple to sort out. Forget who lied and who ordered them to do so as that's not important, let Mclaren sort that out. All the stewards know for a fact is that Mclaren did Lie and so punish them on that and that alone. Done.

    Now let's get on with the driving because that's what we are all here for isn't it?

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  • 12. At 4:55pm on 24 Apr 2009, saintmaggiore wrote:

    Hey, as my husband has just said, when a great team has gone it has gone. In this economic climate, with sponsorship et al where are we going to find another McLaren and Ron Dennis et al. Keep up your destructive powers FIA or retire. This is an addendum to my previous comment with an addition by my other half! Let's all enjoy F1 for what it is and get rid of the so called politics that are about to destroy it.

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  • 13. At 5:15pm on 24 Apr 2009, DavidBeckhamsBeard wrote:

    Mclaren hardly help themselves do they? You thought after the spying scandals they would keep their head down and be transparent, yet you see them less than 2 years later lying to the stewards and trying to cover up their tracks just to get a better grid placement!

    Though, Mclaren have seen to be very sorry about the whole affair, and have taken steps to sort out themselves behinds the scenes (particually with Ron Dennis going) i think a severe suspended penalty just and a fine would be a fair comprimise.

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  • 14. At 5:27pm on 24 Apr 2009, nibs wrote:


    The first time the court succumbed to heavy external pressures by FOM and did not apply the letter of the law.

    Will the same this happen this time I wonder? Tarnishing the sport's credibility in the name of profit-making and tv audiences? Despite the offender having recently been found guilty and cautioned for an infringement of similar nature and severity?

    The odds are that it will, and the apology invitation and leaking incident point to this exact direction.




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  • 15. At 5:57pm on 24 Apr 2009, turnip65 wrote:


    I'm sorry but i think this whole thing has been blown out of proportion. What happened as we know it is that Dave Ryan misadvised Lewis at the stewards room, Lewis then lied to the stewards. Now as we know Dave Ryan isn't a cheat but he knew his mistake on the pitwall and was trying to get back the place that was rightfully theirs (ironically if he had of said nothing nothing more would have happened) Him telling lewis to decieve the stewards was a massive error of judgement but it was his fault and as a result has lost his job.
    Now everyone seems to have got into the thinking that mclaren are cheats etc because of this, well when you sit back and look at what happened in the heat of that moment it was just a series of MISTAKES. Now we are all human and all make them, i think that it is right that Dave has lost his job, as any of us would loose our job if we made massive errors. i also think it's right that lewis had points taken away.
    The only thing left then is that Mclaren did not fess up to their version of events which to me is the only serious problem that needs to be punished. I don't think anyone wants to see them DQ'd or any punishment that effects racing, as we've seen with the organisation of the 1st 2 races the FIA seem 2 be doing all they can to ruin the racing for the viewer (and trackside spectators) in order to please the TV people.

    Written by a ferrari fan

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  • 16. At 6:14pm on 24 Apr 2009, skywalker1 wrote:

    Hamilton dives like a kite! But a simple slap on the wrist will do - he's still the best thing that's happened to F1 in a long long time.

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  • 17. At 6:17pm on 24 Apr 2009, FairPlayMotty wrote:

    theoutlaw,

    It's a shame that your comment was not the blog. You nailed it brilliantly. These boards seem to be full of conspiracy theorists when it comes to McLaren and Hamilton. Great to read your logical and fair comments.

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  • 18. At 6:38pm on 24 Apr 2009, ronrafferty wrote:

    Mosley knows about bringing the sport into disrepute if anyone does so it will be interesting to see what happens to McClaren.

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  • 19. At 6:54pm on 24 Apr 2009, Sharmoan wrote:

    To think that things are so clear to see... that we still put the word 'lying' in inverted commas. So is it Misleading? and what does that mean... We talk about McLaren and all the others in the team.. Does Lewis does not have a conscience about what he did? The world hides the truth to prevent the wrath of the lawyers!!!

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  • 20. At 7:01pm on 24 Apr 2009, F1mademesmoke wrote:

    I too agree with theoutlaw's comments but surely the part played by Lewis has been underplayed by everyone. He had the most to gain, told lies, got caught, damaged his image then played the innocent badly advised in the hope of salvaging something. He knew what he was saying was not true but said it anyway. I'm not sure that he should have been let off as lightly as he has.

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  • 21. At 7:23pm on 24 Apr 2009, vicweir wrote:

    Had Heikki Kovalainen lost a point and podium though receiving incorrect advice from his team would the team have felt the need to 'control' the situation in quite the way they appear to have done in Australia and then Malaysia? I may be wrong, but I doubt it.

    MM looks to me like a team that will sacrifice just about anyone, regardless of status or service given, if they impede, in any way, the inexorable rise of Hamilton Jnr.

    My opinion is that Ryan, a man with 35 years of seemingly blameless service behind him, felt under great pressure to make amends to the driver in a way that would have been seen as absurd in any other team. Teams let drivers down sometimes and drivers let their teams down on occasions. Why is this such a problem in MM? Heaven help the mechanic who leaves the fuel hose in LH's car as it shoots out of the pitlane!

    The FIA has to take action to help MM get over this ridiculous modus vivendi; surely enough careers have been damaged or destroyed in this cause.
    I'm sure Hamilton is a good enough driver to win races and perhaps WCs without this nannying attitude and he'll learn more from his own and others' mistakes if he's ALLOWED to.

    Yep, perhaps MM's absence from a few races will give them time to adjust their viewpoint - or maybe Heikki could be be their sole driver for those races and everyone can stop being so frightened and just get on with the job?

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  • 22. At 8:56pm on 24 Apr 2009, Duncan_74 wrote:

    You do have to wonder if the whole incident would ever have happened if the punishment last year after for the corner cutting incident had of ben less. Ie, he'd not have slowed, would have correctly held the place and none of this would have happened. Contrary to the earlier post that suggested McLaren should have learnt from previous seasons and kept their nose clean, it was McLaren's paranoia that lead to the instruction to let him pass.

    Oh, and just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you... ;-)

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  • 23. At 9:18pm on 24 Apr 2009, U13879777 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 24. At 9:42pm on 24 Apr 2009, allaboveboard wrote:

    In all this debate no-one has commented on the one thing that will save McLaren, and I'm sure it's not unconnected.

    If the FIA throw out McLaren, no team will be using KERS on both their cars.

    What does Max Mosely value above revenge on Ron Dennis? No McLaren, no KERS.

    Slapped wrists all round.

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  • 25. At 9:43pm on 24 Apr 2009, FairPlayMotty wrote:

    Duncan_74,

    I don't see how the two incidents can be related. What McLaren did this time cannot be justified. Cheating and lying (with collusion) is very poor behaviour.

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  • 26. At 10:10pm on 24 Apr 2009, Andy wrote:

    Sorry - my apologies - thought this was about Steve McClaren lying at his interview for the England Manager's job.

    Didn't realise that he was now making cars; I am sure that Max Mosley can dream up some punishment for Lewis though.

    However lost for words that anybody really cares - have you been to a F1 meeting - just sit on a roundabout over a motorway and you'll get a similar experience. There I've said it..................

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  • 27. At 11:32pm on 24 Apr 2009, TedJackson wrote:

    I can't help but feel that F1 would be a better place without VMM setting such a bad example. F1 is still supposedly a sport and as such sporting behaviour NOT money should be the goal to which teams aspire.

    Anything else would just be another marketing opportunity!

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  • 28. At 11:47pm on 24 Apr 2009, getbacktotheracing wrote:

    and for a moment there, thanks to Lewis, F1 was interesting again. I know it's been said before but why bother...I can enjoy a nice afternoon nap on Sunday now and get the new race result by about the following wednesday.
    Bias in the judgements? never! Ferrari got more than their fair share of punishments last year. There was the erm...and the time they were fined err?
    I agree though we must keep these big teams in check. A big fine ought to do it, bring them down a step or two...we don't want power and money adversely affecting F1 do we Bernie? And certainly not racing built on lies and deceit..do your finest Max.

    Shame about British Grand Prix slipping away....Tell us Bernie (and don't lie now) is it that they can't provide the same amount of money sorry I meant standard of driving circuit as the oil producing countries can.

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  • 29. At 11:48pm on 24 Apr 2009, aforeigner wrote:

    Last time McLaren was in hot waters it was Ferrarigate. From what Bernie later said, McLaren could/should have been thrown out of F1 all together on back of the spying. Now its lying. I dont know, but somone in the FIA needs to put the foot down and punish McLaren for real ..

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  • 30. At 11:49pm on 24 Apr 2009, mramcha wrote:

    I am in total agreement with theoutlaw on this one.

    In the heat of the moment, I can understand Mclaren making an error of judgement at the initial Stewards enquiry. The fact is that they then saw the ruling and the unfair penalty on Toyota but chose to say nothing to correct it. Even at the second hearing after they had a few days to mull it over, both Hamilton and Ryan continued to deny any wrongdoing, even after being presented with the evidence.

    Had they not been caught, they would have continued to lie, and disadvantaged a competitor unfairly in the process. They deserve anything they get.

    During the spy-gate debacle, I sided with Ron Dennis, believing in his integrity and that of the team, I think this incident has proved me wrong.

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  • 31. At 03:07am on 25 Apr 2009, ethicsinthestates wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 32. At 03:21am on 25 Apr 2009, ethicsinthestates wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 33. At 03:52am on 25 Apr 2009, theoutlawdekepatton wrote:

    Cheers to the folks supporting my previous comment. If I knew you would care so much I would have made more effort with its presentation!

    There seems to be a lot of people suggesting harsher punishment for Lewis Hamilton.

    In contrast to the characters of other great young sportsmen, Rafael Nadal for example, it is unfortunate to see such a high profile Brit being deservedly shamed. You couldn't imagine Nadal ever behaving in such a manner. Hamilton has let everybody down and set a terrible example to the kids supporting him.

    I believe Lewis considered himself to be the player but has found out the hard way that he is a pawn in other peoples ambitious games. He has been far to naive and trusting. He has believed the hype and allowed himself to be carried by it. It is easy to see him as being insincere, I cringe at almost all his interviews, however, I think it is more accurate to say he has been thoughtless.

    Despite actually acheiving a W.D.C it is fair to say he has been badly advised and guided. Maybe his success has helped cover up problems in regards to this. I honestly don't think they guy ever sits down, has a hard think and looks at the big picture. He allowed himself to become complacent letting others tell him what is good or bad.

    The kid has burning ambition and needs to be guided properly. He needs to take more responsibility in deciding if he is recieving proper guidance. In the end though, he is just a kid. The FIA need to make sure the punishment is part of a lesson, not a final judgment.

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  • 34. At 08:40am on 25 Apr 2009, geekboy7 wrote:

    The thing that is forgotten in all this is that what Mclaren did on the track was correct. LH was correct in passing Trulli when he went off the track as this is allowed under the sfety car rules. However they didn't need to let Trulli by and the fact they did is actually irrelevant as under the safety car rules Trulli wasn't allowed to regain his spot anyway whether he was let by or not. So all Mclaren had to do was describe what "actually" happened and the outcome would have been the same original stewards decision and LH would have been given 3rd.

    I think the problem is that Mclaren are paranoid and don't trust the Stewards especially after Spa last year where it appeared a new rule was created and they then punished LH retrospectively.

    I think the FIA need to back down a little. Often when you try to make a sport "whiter than white" and a story like this one hangs about for weeks and is picked up by the non-specialist press it just gets bigger and often blown up out of all proportion. In these economic times when sponsership budgets are shrinking it may not just be Mclaren who loose sponsers but other teams as well if sponsers feel they don't want to be even marginally associated with bad press.

    I think Mclaren have fallen on their sword, a "scapegoat" has been punished and LH was disqualified. The best FIA verdict now would be "guilty but punishment served".

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  • 35. At 09:00am on 25 Apr 2009, VettelRules wrote:

    Mclaren and Hamilton should be thrown out of the championship. Not only did he lie once, but he repeated that lie a few days later. Also given that we know Hamilton was willing to disobey team orders in Hungary 2007, is it unreasonable to think he could have gone against David Ryan's advice. Hamilton wasn't misled by anybody; He told a lie in cold blood a few days after he first told the lie.

    Ask yourself this question: Would Hamilton have owned up to his lie if he had not been caught? Ofcourse not, and yet you people still defend him.

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  • 36. At 09:38am on 25 Apr 2009, VettelRules wrote:

    Theoutlaw, I don't think Hamilton has the natural intelligence to see the big picture. He is one of the least intelligent drivers on the grid. He hardly ever says anything interesting in interviews.

    My dad once told me that you can work out someone's innate intelligence just by listening to them talk unscripted. Interviews are perfect for this.

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  • 37. At 10:08am on 25 Apr 2009, geekboy7 wrote:

    Theoutlaw, The punishment given to Toyota was exactly as described in the rules for passing under the safety car and wasn't harsh at all. They broke the rules! The only reason they were reinstated was MM made a right pigs ear of a situation when they were totally in the right.

    VettelRules, you have a very narrow definition of what makes someone intelligent. BY your measure Stephen Hawking must be pretty unintelligent! Most drivers hardly say anything interesting in interviews especially on live TV. PR speak rules in F1.

    Oh and in case anyone thinks I'm some kind of apologist for MM and LH, I'm actually Tifosi.

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  • 38. At 10:12am on 25 Apr 2009, jfewery wrote:

    In the context of the Schumacher case, I think a 'time served' style penalty and a suspended sentence would be the best course of action if the FIA want to show parity between teams.

    The whole sour business seems to have been put behind everyone in the sport and 2009 is shaping up to be a good season. So there seems to be no logic in ruining it by excluding the world champion. As such, I dismayed to see comments on about how Hamilton has a lack of intelligence or integrity. He made a huge mistake, allowed himself to be misled by a team he has been with for years and subsequently apologised. That should be the end of it.

    I hope the punishment fits the crime, but given recent history, I am not sure that it will.

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  • 39. At 11:06am on 25 Apr 2009, fatfot wrote:

    Hi
    First timer here. Can anyone confirm whether or not any of the punishment meted out to Mclaren for the Hungaroring 2007 spat was due to their 'misleading the stewards'?

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  • 40. At 11:23am on 25 Apr 2009, Dontgetmad wrote:

    The bottom line is that Hamilton and McLaren lied and continued to lie in order to disadvantage an opponent. and should be punished for it to try to prevent it happening again. A stitch up between McLaren and the FIA to avoid any further penalty would be a disgrace.Throwing them out of the championship however goes to far and probably also saves them money. A deduction of 30 points from the team championship and from Hamilton personally together with a substantial fine seems reasonable. However before doing that I believe the FIA should insist on hearing Dave Ryan's side of the story. His silence so far has been ominous.

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  • 41. At 12:37pm on 25 Apr 2009, Wot Kuyt 'e did wrote:

    "The range of possible penalties is huge - everything from being thrown out of F1 to no punishment whatsoever." - This is probably the most telling fact in this case, and indeed in many others.

    The truth is that the punishment will in the end be entirely arbitrary, depending on the humour of the executive concerned, and cannot be judged independently as there are no specific guidelines for sanctions.

    It seems to me that if the rules applying to drivers, cars & teams are as strict and well defined as they are, the sanctions applied should be just as well defined, if only to remove the clouds of favouritism that are evidently more opaque than those surrounding the incident itself.

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  • 42. At 1:51pm on 25 Apr 2009, wingersteve wrote:

    It is no uses saying sorry after the event and expecting it all to go away (if they were not caught they would not apologise !!) . McLaren have been caught red handed and the punishment needs to be severe to help restore the name of F1 & the FIA. Lets try to make F1 a sport again and not the poltical football that it is at the moment. I do not want to see McLaren removed from the sport but to lie to gain an advantage over another driver deserves a very severe punishment, for both the driver and the team.

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  • 43. At 3:33pm on 25 Apr 2009, hackerjack wrote:

    It does not matter whether anyone believes it or not, e live in a society that thankfully values proof over opinion, so without proof that McLaren instructed Ryan then there is little case to answer over and above that of not being able to control their employee.

    As Ryan has not even come out against the sory despite being sacked I would tend to believe it anyway.

    Clearly the team should pay a penalty. As they were trying to get a sporting advantage then a sporting penalty would be appropriate, perhaps -10 points. They should als be fined at least the amount that the whole fiasco has costed the FIA. Hamilton was not innicent either, he should also get a penalty, I would say -5 points because directed or not he knew the words he said were false.

    Just get it over and done with quickly and remind McLaren tht any further transgressions will be dealt with more harshly.

    And then do the same to the stewards who couldnt be bothered to nswer McLarens queries during the race about whether they should let him pass or not.

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  • 44. At 5:00pm on 25 Apr 2009, Philinux wrote:

    Ok. When it comes to my personal thoughts regarding the FIA, I'm with Martin Brundle. Martin said, back on September 9th 2007, regarding the spy-gate affair involving McLaren, "For me this has all the feel of a witch-hunt, driven by the very people who have a primary responsibility to the sport." One very alarming fact about this statement is, nothing has changed!

    Any opportunity the FIA has of dragging McLaren over hot coals, which is NEVER waived, seems to be carried out with relentless abandon. Whether or not McLaren deserve it is another matter. Other teams seem to get off lightly in comparison and there is just no reasonable explanation as to why this is the case.

    I'd like to see what the FIA would do if, for example, Lewis Hamilton was caught, in his spare time, dressed in a WW2 uniform drinking cups of tea with certain individuals of a dubious vocation. He'd be judged as "bringing the sport into disrepute" and vanish faster than you could say it! Nobody needs reminding about what happened to the last guy who found himself in this predicament.

    One set of rules for the FIA, with a different set of rules for McLaren, and yet another set of rules for everybody else. There's no consistancy or continuity in the judgements made by the FIA, unless you happen to be called Ferrari, in which case you are hugged and kissed and told everything will be just fine, because you are loved by the boss.

    "ERRR FIA" = re-arrange to spell "ferrari"

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  • 45. At 09:23am on 27 Apr 2009, SenjorittaKat wrote:

    It is absolutely not good for the Formula 1 image. Once again the public attention is concentrated on the court sessions, investigations, apologizes and other not sporting events. But why do people all over the world watch and enjoy races – competition of the high technologies, smart decisions, tactics, good drivers. And these FIA investigations make Formula 1 worse, destroy sport spirit I can say so. We are loosing faith in results on the track and in driver’s and team members’ words. When Brawn GP won its first race my thoughts were – their car is illegal!!! They should be banned of using double-diffuser.
    But most of this mess is a result of bad teams’ work. If there were no reasons at all there would be no FIA court session now. McLaren doesn’t have right to lie. But the problem is not in that fact that Lewis misled the stewards but that his lie was the reason of the Toyota’s punishment (but they, I’m sure, had worked hard and deserved to be on podium).
    Before saying that FIA is biased in taking decisions concerning McLaren they need to think about the actions inside the team, their words. I believe Lewis is a grown up boy and can make decision himself – lie or not lie. But the desire to be third in the race which he was really good at, was strong and he couldn’t resist. It doesn’t matter was or it wasn’t his decision. The fact – he lied several times, lied when he was shown evidences and proofs. He looked at the stewards’ eyes and continued to lie – than made press conference and publicly apologized – put all the blame not on himself but on his sporting director, whose career was compromised. It seems he and McLaren are playing like children, but not with toys but with people.
    I think punishment is needed – like a wake up call for everyone on the grid – telling fairy tells to stewards won’t be accepted. But the best way is to fine them (not of course €1 million!!! ))) Exclusion from Championship is inappropriate. More teams in the race more competition, more adrenalin in the blood – it’s the basis of F1 survival during the Global economic crisis.

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  • 46. At 09:28am on 27 Apr 2009, 355gts wrote:

    That's a bit naiive if you ask me. Do you really expect the FIA to treat McLAren and Hamilton in a consistent way with the way they treat Ferarri and treated Schumacher?

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  • 47. At 12:43pm on 27 Apr 2009, me wrote:

    "What happened as we know it is that Dave Ryan misadvised Lewis at the stewards room, Lewis then lied to the stewards."

    I think the point is no, we do not know that. We do not know anything, only that this is the latest version of events Whitmarsh is telling us, and that up till now he has been seen to have lied when he thought he could get away with it - continuing to say they told the truth long after he knew they had not. I haven't seen Dave Ryan confirming it was all his idea, has anyone else?

    Suppose in fact Whitmarsh is still lying through his teeth, it was him who ordered this, and then paid Ryan to take the can and stay silent? Now I'm not saying for one second that is what happened, it is just one of any number of explanations - it could equally have all been Hamilton's idea. Or just as Whitmarsh is telling us. But seems to me the FIA are 100% correct to want to find out what happened, and who was behind it. Then, and only then, can they make a fair decision whatever that may be.

    That the eventual decision may not be fair is another matter, but we can hardly prejudge that, or we are guilty of exactly what soem people are accusing the FIA of, bias.

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  • 48. At 12:43pm on 27 Apr 2009, mansellsmoustache wrote:

    Most seem to be missing the point that the Australian debacle was a direct result of Lewis being stripped of the win at Spa last year, he and the team were only being overcautious in being sure that what they were doing was all above board. On the track Lewis was rightfully third and Trulli fourth, whilst I certainly do not condone the lying, I cant help but feel that McLaren found themselves between a rock and a hard place.

    The right outcome would be a suspended ban, but worry that this may stifle Lewis' natural instinct to race, knowing full well that the slightest misdemeanour could mean disaster. We need Lewis in F1, he has proved this year that in a 2nd rate car he can still bring it home three to four places better than its worth (look where Hekki finished in Bahrain).

    Lewis probably needed something like this to bring him back down to earth, I only hope he will emerge a more mature individual.

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  • 49. At 1:34pm on 27 Apr 2009, me wrote:

    '...the stewards who couldnt be bothered to nswer McLarens queries during the race about whether they should let him pass or not'.

    May I just add that this approach is very unfair. McLaren needed a difinitive answer, and that had to be endorsed by the top guy. I would suggest that he was rather busy doing what I think we would all have wanted him to do, that is get the race restarted at the earliest opportunity, without spending 10 minutes reviewing video to see who did what.

    The better way I believe is to have one person 100% available to give rulings to the teams during the race and whose decision is final save that the FIA can act later if it's found he was given misleading or untrue information. F1 needs to get a bit more like football - we all know the refs make mistakes, but at least when you leave the match you know who has won the game!!

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  • 50. At 08:23am on 28 Apr 2009, bmwjim wrote:

    when the FIA hearing takes place on wednesday we all know Maclarn wont be chucked out [sponsors etc] and hamilton will get his wrist slapped and a dont do it again statement. Like all things in life rules get bent if not broken but in this case there must be a feeling of GUILTY from the maca camp as they sack a guy who has served them well, Dennis moves on as he is seen as a negative to the FIA, a letter of apology is sent ahead of meeting and hamilton who has been in motorsport for long enough to realise lying to officials has made public apology, the truth is it is like lying to the police, if found out you will expect to be punished.I cant see how the non STAR of the two people in this is sacked and LH can be allowed to get away scotfree there needs to be integrity back in this sport and it needs to start at this hearing, a severe penalty will send shock waves through the grid

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  • 51. At 4:01pm on 28 Apr 2009, TheLardMeister wrote:

    Frankly don't understand all of this at all. I think the Shuey Monaco incident says it all. Its not up to the teams to decide what happened and what did not, nor in my book should the Stewards expect it. They are supposed to look at the evidence not try and work it out from hearsay from the driver!

    Trulli should have been punished anyway - LH did not get off the circuit so Truklli must have broken the rules irrespective of the radio chatter at MM.

    All this nonsense, motorsport is a complex sport where teams try and push the rules to the max - this emans they often transgress them. The culture encourages innovation which sometimes slips into blatant cheating (sucking suspension down with pumps which was everyone but Brabham, extra fuel tanks BAR, air restrictors that don't Toyota Rally). This addition of soap opera politics that has been added in teh alst couple of years is poor for me.
    On the basis of this saga, surely there is no need for scrutineers, since the teams must ensure the cars are always legal and the punishment for 'lying' would be....

    Bah!, I would prefer they left the sanctions to the race stewards and made sure they did their job!!
    The end game of this diatribe - sack the rubbish stewards, they couldn't be bothered to gather all the evidence before making a decision.

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  • 52. At 4:04pm on 28 Apr 2009, ham12ton wrote:

    I don't think that Mclaren will be thrown out of the sport, or in fact out of any races, because Formula 1 can't afford to lose another team, never mind one of the biggest teams on the grid. That's not to say any team can do what they want because the sport needs them, that's not what I'm getting at. However you do get the impression that Max especially is always trying to inflict his power on the teams, and doesn't consider the fans.

    I think the loss of the podium, and the loss of dignity that especially Hamilton has suffered is enough punishment, and the FIA should stop with these big council meetings that take the limelight off the track. The governing body has to realise that in a sport of margins, the boundaries are going to be stepped over now and again, and common sense must ensue.

    Plus how can the FIA give out all these punishments, when their president didn't take his own punishment after the whole saga last year!

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  • 53. At 4:13pm on 28 Apr 2009, -M4SoN- wrote:

    "I am not a liar or a dishonest person" - Hamilton

    Am I the only one that finds that choice of wording ironic in the sense that he's lying in that very sentence...

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  • 54. At 4:26pm on 28 Apr 2009, NickMitch wrote:

    Don't be daft Fatboy, Trulli this and Trulli that..... Maclaren and Hamilton have admitted lying and trying to cheat and also everyoine in the sport and especially Hamilton accept that Trulli was very honest and correct throughout. Trulli actually accepted a punishment which was not due without whinging as the incident only came to light when Maclaren complained to the Stewards that Trulli evertook under safety car conditions knowing that they (Maclaren) deliberately let him pass - Hamilton's words. They then lied about this fact when asked the direct question and continued to lie even when a recording of the fact was played back to them. Are you kidding? There has not been a clearer case of cheating in this sport. Make no mistake about it, reputations have been damaged no matter how much you go on about Alonso, Shumy etc etc - that we are now thought of as cheats is hard to swallow I know but it's much bigger to just accept that it can happen to our teams, accept the punishment and move on rather than whinging about it. Personally I feel very, very sorry for Hamilton - what a nightmare but I'm certainly not going to whinge and whine about others or use other incidents as an excuse. Cheated, got caught, lied, still lied, punishment, accept it and move on.
    E.C.B.

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  • 55. At 4:31pm on 28 Apr 2009, Dr-G wrote:

    I can see a one, maybe two race suspension for the team - harsh on Hamilton, but he also did play a part in the duping of stewards despite his contrite apology after the event.

    The saying goes: we win together, we lose together.....
    showing the closeness and uniformity of the Team
    (we can now add - we lie together)

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  • 56. At 4:39pm on 28 Apr 2009, NickMitch wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 57. At 4:42pm on 28 Apr 2009, A Travesty wrote:

    Being pedantic for a minute, your artice says "Team boss Martin Whitmarsh has apologised and Lewis Hamilton was disqualified from the Australian Grand Prix after breaking overtaking rules."

    What overtaking rules did Lewis break, exactly? I though he was disqualified for "'lying'"...

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  • 58. At 5:59pm on 28 Apr 2009, me wrote:

    'I think the loss of the podium, and the loss of dignity that especially Hamilton has suffered is enough punishment'

    Agree entirely - IF things are indeed as Whitmarsh has now told us. But if it turns out he is still lying - say he or RD told Ryan to do as he did then paid him to carry the can - then personally I'd throw the book at them, including Hamilton for going along with it. I hope that is not what happened, there is not to-date a shred of evidence to that effect - unless you count the total silence from Ryan on the matter (assuming nobody has heard different?)- but am I alone in just having this nagging suspicion...

    If it was just down to Ryan, then why immediately afterwards didn't they immediately suspend him for stupidity at best and go back and tell the stewards.... instead of spending days saying they told the truth when they didn't. That is what most people would do if an employee screwed up like that. Mclaren didn't, and I'm left wondering why.

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  • 59. At 6:04pm on 28 Apr 2009, MacauBlue wrote:

    McLaren has suffered enough, F1 fans have suffered enough. How quickly the Schumacher/Todt/Ferrari Monaco parking incident was dismissed illustrates the point perfectly. Also, if BAR-Honda can spend thousands if not millions developing an illegal fuel tank – as happened a few years ago – and receive a two-race ban, it would be ludicrous for McLaren to receive anything similar, especially as this fiasco was a result of the Australian race stewards not doing their jobs correctly in the first place!

    Ron Dennis has had to jump through hoops for Max Mosley for many, many years now, often at crucial points during a season and almost always involving conflict with Ferrari. The comments here that suggest otherwise must be from those whom have only followed F1 very recenty. Remember McLaren's banned third brake pedal, for instance? And it's ironic that Kers is now active in F1 yet when McLaren's Adrian Newey had the idea more than five years ago the FIA simply refused it.

    A suspended sentence is the maximum any team should receive for 'liargate'. McLaren has already been disqualified from the Australiand GP and a high-profile member of staff dismissed. Those who want McLaren punished further must have a personal grudge against McLaren, too.

    Apart from McLaren forging a new relationship with the FIA, I also think it's time for the politics to take a back seat and for Mosley to stand down.

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  • 60. At 8:20pm on 28 Apr 2009, NickMitch wrote:

    Agree completely with MacauBlue. Schumacher got away with murder let alone a bit of lying and cheating. I mean, Ross Brawn was the architect of the team and responsible for everything to the minutest detail - the great strategist of course!
    Maclaren have suffered enough - a bit of stealing, the odd lie and trying to cheat another team out of an odd point is totally immaterial compared to the outright massacres carried by the Ferrari/Brawn/Todt/Schmacher combo. (I know it's a bit of an old nugget - but hey why not?)
    Give Maclaren the points back and a couple more in interest, reinstate the podium and throw out any other team that objects .... and appoint Macaublue as the new FIA president.

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  • 61. At 10:33pm on 28 Apr 2009, Jon-exe wrote:

    The FIA like to play bully-boy to set an example. That was all well and good when life was great and everyone was throwing money at Formula 1. What seems to be forgotten here is that a "Team" is made up of a team of people who have families to feed. They're not all multi-millionaire drivers (despite the public face).
    The way this situation appears to have been blown out of all proportion allows the FIA to consider potentially issuing such a punitive punishment that could see the sponsors walk and a lot of families out of work.
    In these days when we should be helping rather than hurting eachother I don't think I could in all honesty continue to support Formula 1 if such a penalty is levied.
    Ironically, if anything is killing Formula 1 it's the FIA.

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  • 62. At 11:15pm on 28 Apr 2009, me wrote:

    Agree with all you 3 guys, but as a matter of interest - would you say the same if - hypothetically - it emerged that Whitmarsh was still lying and had paid Ryan to carry the can for a team decision? Or would you feel that deserved something more?

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  • 63. At 08:53am on 29 Apr 2009, realvilla wrote:

    The FIA are bringing the sport into disrepute themselves.

    Why are they so upset about this incident anyway? So what if a driver's team told them to let someone past? The rules are well defined, and the result was rightly adjusted after Maclaren appealed. The subsequent appeal by Toyota was also correct. Trulli no doubt said Hamilton slowed so much he couldn't do anything but overtake, and after they listened to the radio recordings they appealled the appeal. The ONLY legal way Trulli could overtake was if the teams agreed to let Trulli back past, which they didn't actually do, though it was implied by Hamilton being told to let Trulli past.

    What people have to consider is that lying is not a criminal offence, and if the second appeal was carried out in a normal court, there is no way Maclaren would have been found guilty of breaking the law.

    I personally don't think Hamilton or Maclaren should have been deducted any points, apart from the one place demotion.

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  • 64. At 09:19am on 29 Apr 2009, TheLardMeister wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 65. At 09:24am on 29 Apr 2009, TheLardMeister wrote:

    telnolies - Nope they should get the big nose out of it and start looking at how they operate the rules.
    1. Stewards need to be trained a bit more to look at all the evidence before making a decision
    2. Need to communicate the rules clearly to the teams so they don't need to be chatting to Race Control to worl out what they are during the race
    3. Need to be able to draw a line under decisions, same as in footie, once you've been punished by the stewards at a race for an offence thats it, no more action can be taken.

    On a different note they should get rid of the fuel rigs, keep the park ferme post practice, then the challenge would be to get the car to work fast with no fuel and fully loaded. I think we could get back to more like to the 70's style fo racing then.

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  • 66. At 11:05am on 29 Apr 2009, The Legend that is PhilSlocombe wrote:

    I have followed F1 since I used to clean cars , as a aboy, at Jack Brabhams garage around the corner from my home in Woking. Having spent many years as a Magistrate, I am fascinated at how ,so often, the Stewards can come to perverse judgements, which have too often favoured Ferrari.
    Todays decision is going to be interesting, compared to the previous deacions in similar cases which involved Michael Schumacher ans Ferrari when he was Champion, for example the infamous parking affair in Monaco when both Michael and Ferrai lied through their teeth and the deliberate taking off of Damon Hill to deny him the championship; both were dealt with lightly by the Stewards, despite both these incidents being highly dangerous and putting other drivers at risk, and that was an end to it. Even when Michael was caught repeating his 'Hill' move on Jaques Villneuve, he received only minor punishment.
    Lewis and McLaren have already been punished fairly severly so any further punishment would be a perversion of justice.

    Several factors might mitigate in favour of McLaren and Lewis:

    Ron Dennis quickly sacked Dave Ryan who was the architect of the incident;Ron Dennis, whom Max Mosley hated with a vengance,has gone from McLaren.
    Both McLaren and Lewis publicly apologised and admitted their guilt, something which usually helps to reduce sentencing.

    The FIA need to keep F1 interesting for the fans and removing the best driver from the pack will only reduce the interest. This I believe was the main reason, rather than a Ferrari conspiracy, that Michael was allowed to get away with so much.

    Punishing McLaren and Lewis to a degree where they coulkd not compete for the champiomnships this season would make it a very dull season and mean this years championships would mean nothing.

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  • 67. At 11:42am on 29 Apr 2009, truesporter wrote:

    There are a lot of interesting comments being made here. It is not about right or wrong, black or white, Schumacher or Hamilton, Ferrari or McLaren, it is about the context professional (TV-attractive) sports find themselves in. This is not about people, teams of even F1, it is about money ... and I can say the verdict will be in favour of those who pay to win by getting their names viewed and commercial messages sent across the world by showing this F1-show (on TV).

    Not a single winner of the Tour de France has played it fare ... Do we still believe Armstrong does it on his own stamina and muscle power alone ... never ! He (or the commercial guru's behind him know haow to pool the right stings and get away with it ... Belgiums famous Eddy Merckx was capable of pulling of the same ...

    In sports where there is so much (money) at stake, things happen that cannot see the light of day !

    If Banks start to act as commercial companies, things happen that cannot see the light of day !
    F1 is not a sport anymore , it is a commercial venture and then different "rules" seem to apply.

    So, times have changed since those really committed were the ones washing Jack Brabhams car and that is sometimes hard to accept. The cheer fact that world famous rock groups now need to be part of the package to get fans to visit the venues is another sign (one I do not particularly fancy to be honest).

    F1 (business) has grown far beyond the racing of cars. It is part of a cleverly engineerd system to make a lot of money for a (happy ?) few. It is product, like any modern product.
    If you want to play this game, stick to the rules, it is a jungle out there.

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  • 68. At 11:43am on 29 Apr 2009, SunsetLoft wrote:

    I don't think VMM & LH will be punished to any extreme lengths;they have already been made to look foolish in the public eye and taken a humiliating hit. Admission of lying like school children and sacking DR so publicly laid the foundation of a lesser punishment.

    I think the issue surrounding all this and highlighted by much of the talk on this blog is that F1 and the FIA need to take a serious look at themselves and adjust accordingly.

    The stranglehold of MM and BE to the point of 'bullying' over the past few years has had me aghast sometimes. They need to embrace the world with a bit more pragmatism and stop parading around like peacocks who have no equal.

    The favouritism and leniancy shown to some over the recent years has again been quite embarassing, to the point of people simply shrugging their shoulders in disbelief. Yes, of course teams want to win and of course the slightest edge can translate to dominance, but throwing toys out of prams in the way that some of these guys do is beyond belief somtimes. This goes for Team owners, managers, crew and drivers.

    Lets also not forget that although people come out and apologise immediately and sackings take place there was serious error of judgement here. I realise that the team will stick together but to think that we believe this was all Ryans scheming and no one else knew of it is just patronising to us F1 fans.

    LH may be a supreme talent, which of course he is, but he has shown no mettle of a man here. He claims he was coerced into lying but the simple fact of the matter was he knew he was being asked to lie and didn't have the balls to stand up and say 'No, I'm not lying'. What do we teach our children, it's ok to succumb to peer pressure or one should stand up and do the right thing?

    The blame culture will prevail unfortunately and the assessment of accountability will I'm sure continue to fall at the feet of scape goats. As a die hard F1 fan who has watched since his father filmed James Hunt in '76, I want nothing more than for these guys to continue. I just hope they do so with humility, sportmanship, honesty and in tandem of how their many fans around the world conduct themselves.

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  • 69. At 11:58am on 29 Apr 2009, Time For Heroes wrote:

    I think a suspended 3 race ban is reasonable.
    Expect it to be used for something controversial by the end of the European races this year.

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  • 70. At 12:10pm on 29 Apr 2009, Pendlemac wrote:

    What isn't very clear is what punishment has been given to the incompetent who caused this mess. You know, the driver who couldn't even tell that the car he SHOULD NOT PASS was slowing down, especially as that car could have been slowing because of an obstruction on the track!

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  • 71. At 12:27pm on 29 Apr 2009, ballytifosi wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 72. At 12:58pm on 29 Apr 2009, me wrote:

    pendlemac, if you mean Trulli that is the most bizarre comment on here.

    There wasn't anything on the track, and Trulli has eyes. Hamilton slows to a crawl, Trulli was perfectly entitled to assume he had a problem and go past, that's what the rules say. OK I don't espect LH fans to say 'OK
    if nothing elses this has shown he is still a very imature boy with a lot of growing up to do, especially if he really thinks his job in F1 is just about 'having fun' and driving the car'. Though that is obviously the case, and why not he's still a very inexperienced lad. But to try and blame Trulli for what LH & Mclaren did, if that's what you meant, is frankly silly.

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  • 73. At 4:04pm on 29 Apr 2009, Figjammer wrote:

    I am appalled at the way McLaren have sucked up to the FIA and Messrs Ecclestone and Mosley in this way. They have sacked an employee who has worked for them for 35 years. Ron Dennis, who built the team into the force it is, has had to resign. And all this to keep the S&M lover, Mosley, and the man who will be responsible for the death of the British Grand Prix, Ecclestone, maintaining the breathtaking arrogance that has overshadowed everything else about Formula 1 since they started running it. It's high time they did the decent thing and retired.

    Shame on you, McLaren. Eating humble pie and apologising is one thing. The public humiliation you felt you had to display over the last few weeks is quite another. I hope that you have properly looked after the one person who has come out of this with his dignity intact, Dave Ryan.

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  • 74. At 5:47pm on 29 Apr 2009, NickMitch wrote:

    Just want to say that I completely agree with FatBoyW. He understands F1 and the rules outlined in his post are straight from the back of his fag packet - pure genius. Technical regulations and stewards - bah, Fatboy would be the main man not just at both ends of the sport but in the safety car also. Fair play and instant sentencing would be the new order.
    FatboyW for president I say!

    PS: FatBoyW, do you watch F1? If so, who do you support - team and driver and why if you don't mind. If so why?
    Thanks ECB

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  • 75. At 9:50pm on 29 Apr 2009, doctorspike666 wrote:

    hello fellow F1 fans,well,well,what a plaesant suprize it was to see the trial of maclarn,fell in their favor,the leaveing of ron dennis may have had something to do with it,listened to an interviev with mr e.jordan,he all said this,i do believe him,as he has seen the internal squbblig in F1 at first hand,being a former team owner,spain next,this should help the cars go faster,with cooler temps here,jenson on top once again,the young vittel in second,jarno in third,the drivers standings also make pleasant reading to,i would hate to predicte what would happen in spain,alonso on home turf,but just for some more exciting races,with jeson in the mix,

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